Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Wadding, Luke

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WADDING, LUKE (1588–1657), Irish Franciscan, eleventh child of Walter Wadding of Waterford, and his wife, Anastasia Lombard, was born there on 16 Oct. 1588, and was baptised two days later, on the feast of St. Luke. After education at the school of Mrs. Jane Barden in Waterford and of Peter White in Kilkenny, in 1604 he went to study in Lisbon and at Coimbra. In 1607 he resolved to enter the Franciscan order, and spent his novitiate at Matozinhos. He was ordained priest in 1613. In 1617 he migrated to Salamanca, where he became president of the Irish College. He went to Rome in 1618 as chaplain to the Spanish ambassador, and there resided till his death. He collected funds, and on 24 June 1625 founded and opened the College of St. Isidore for Irish students in Rome, with four lecturers—Anthony O’Hicidh of a famous literary family in Thomond, Martin Breatanach from Donegal, Patrick Fleming from Louth, and John Ponce from Cork. He gave the college a library of five thousand printed books and eight hundred manuscripts, and thirty resident students soon came. Wadding was rector for fifteen years. From 1630 to 1634 he was procurator of the Franciscans at Rome, and vice commissary from 1645 to 1648. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Irish catholics in the war of 1641, and his college became the strongest advocate of the Irish cause in Rome. This spirit of patriotism, originated by Wadding, it has ever since retained, so that Sir George Errington, who was sent by Gladstone to explain the relation of English and Irish politics in Rome, reported that those Irish politicians thought most extreme in England were conservatives compared with the collegians of St. Isodore. Wadding sent officers and arms to Ireland, and induced Innocent X to send thither Giovanni Battista Rinuccini [q. v.] The confederate catholics petitioned Urban VIII to make Wadding a cardinal, but the rector of the Irish College found means to intercept the petition, and it remained in the archives of the college.

Wadding published numerous works of which there is a list in Harris’s editions of Ware. The chief are: ‘Annales Minorum,’ in eight volumes (1625-54); an edition of Duns Scotus in twelve volumes (1639, fol.); and πρεσβεία, a treatise on the immaculate conception of the Virgin, published at Louvain in 1624. The doctrine of the immaculate conception of the Virgin, the works of Duns Scotus, and the history of the Franciscan order were his favourite subjects of study. His essay ‘De Hebraicæ linguæ origine, præstantia, et utilitate’ is prefixed to the concordance of the Hebrew scriptures of Marius de Collasio, which Wadding prepared for the press in 1621. He published in all thirty-six volumes—fourteen at Rome, twenty-one at Lyons, and one at Antwerp. He died on 18 Nov. 1657, and was buried at St. Isidore’s in Rome. His portrait and part of his library are now in the Franciscan convent on Merchant’s Quay, Dublin. He was a man of the most thorough loyalty to his country and to his order, of extensive learning, free from all desire for personal aggrandisement, and of an unlimited benevolence. His life was written by Francis Harold, his nephew. The learned Bonaventura Baron [q. v.] was another nephew.

[Wadding’s Works; Harold’s Vita, Rome, 1731; Ware’s Works, ed. Harris, 1764; Webb’s Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878; Anderson’s Historical Sketches of the Native Irish, 2nd edit. 1830; Meehan’s Rise and Fall of the Irish Franciscan Monasteries, 4th edit. 1872; O’Shea’s Life of Wadding, 1885.]

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